Antonio Carlos Jr. came to PFL this season as one of the UFC’s veterans in need of a title fight, but now he has a bigger challenge with Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi, reigning light heavyweight champion.
‘Cara de Sapato’ always surprised with his middleweight cut, after having won The Ultimate Fighter at heavyweight and being a training partner with Junior dos Santos, he subjected his body to a greater sacrifice to fight at 185 pounds.
Now, in a category up and in a new promotion, he feels that his career has resurfaced.
“I feel better in all aspects now. My life is much better, I can perform better. I used to cut 35 pounds, which is like 16 kilos, it was a lot for me. Even at camp, I felt like I had no energy, I was low on calories. It was making me feel very bad at the time of the fight, I couldn’t do it well, I lacked energy, especially for my game, I needed more power, more resistance, now I feel much better, ”he shared in an interview with ESPN Deportes.
Although he entered the 2021 PFL tournament as one of the favorites, he always maintained respect for his opponents, including Sordi: “I think the level here is very high, you can see fighters like Anthony Pettis, who did not take a victory. Rory MacDonald lost the last of the regular season. Many may not be known but they are very tough. Emiliano is a case, he is the champion, great boxing, great movement, here the poster is tremendous ”.
On paper, it is a knockout match like the ‘He-Man’ against a jiujitsero, but he has known the Argentine for years.
“I don’t want to pressure myself, every fight is difficult, you have to isolate the emotions to perform the best you can. It’s going to be tough, Emiliano is tough, he has a fight and a good floor game. He will be prepared, I saw that he is training jiujitsu, I know that the fight will happen everywhere, ”added Carlos Jr.
Although your country has one of the most important lineages in mixed martial arts and the history of both nations in the cage has no point of comparison, Argentina is on the rise and this may be the most important match of the rivalry between these two nations.
“Brazil against Argentina is always a classic. He comes from soccer from Maradona and Pelé, whenever they face each other there is tension in the air, for all those things. But I have known Emiliano for a long time, we trained together for a while, we like each other even though we are not friends. He is a good guy and I do not bring anything else to the fight, “said the former UFC.
The Brazilian recognizes that his neighbors are moving to his country and other of the best gyms in the world with the desire to grow and are finding good results:
“Many are coming to train MMA, some are also coming to the United States like Santiago (Ponzinibbio) and Emiliano, they are looking for the best for themselves, to improve. Sometimes we have to leave our homes, looking for better coaches. That’s why I also had to leave Brazil to find good companions of my weight, I am a jiujitsu player, I had to improve my fight, in Brazil we don’t have that ”, he explained.
PFL defines its last finalists of the 2021 campaign this Friday with Sordi and Antonio Carlos Jr., as well as Cezar Ferreiza and Martin Hamlet at 205 pounds. The featherweight semi-finals will feature England’s Brendan Loughnane against Russian Movlid Khaybulaev and Chris Wade vs. Bubba Jenkins on the other.